The secular Yiddish school in the United States in sociohistorical perspective: Language school or culture school?

Hannah Kliger, Rakhmiel Peltz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The commitment to Yiddish language instruction underwent change during the history of the secular Jewish afternoon school in the United States. Although founded by shared the common conviction that the Yiddish language carries with it the necessary elements of Jewish group identification. This case study shows that these non-religious schools introduced instruction relating to Jewish culture and tradition and reduced the effort expended on Yiddish instruction. English was increasingly used in the classroom, and the Yiddish proficiency of descendant generations of immigrants diminished. The tensions that developed between the goals of teaching language and transmitting cultural knowledge are correlated with Jewish historical developments during the twentieth century. This case study illustrates factors that influence the circumstances in which ethnic language is taught in the ethnic group school.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalLinguistics and Education
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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